On Tuesday night, the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University (ASSOU) Senate met for the first time in the new academic year, and approved a referendum to revise the $13 Schneider Children Center student fee in a unanimous vote as their first act as sitting body of student government. Now, the student body will vote in a special election that starts today.
Student Body President Alexis Phillips sent out an email this morning explaining the special election. In the email, she said, “A ‘yes’ vote is a vote to remove the Schneider Children’s Fee, effective Fall 2018. A ‘no’ vote is a vote to continue charging the Schneider Children’s fee.”
The online ballot will be open until October 10th, and students must be signed into their SOU account to access to ballot.
A similar referendum was passed last spring, and a vote of the students had the majority not wanting to pay the fee for an nonoperational children’s center. However, according to ASSOU Bylaw 10.5.5.1 covering referendums, “The vote shall be certified with a majority vote of at least five percent of the entire student body.”
“We were not even close,” said Student Body President Alexis Phillips. “Even though the vote last year didn’t qualify, of the students who did vote there was a majority who did not want it.” Thus, students this fall were charged and then immediately reimburse the $13, but the fee could not be taken out without the complete vote.
According to the May 15 legislative minutes, the referendum was presented the first time by the 2017-18 Director of Student Advocacy, Lindsey Rocha, who said, “They [Schneider Children’s Center] were losing around $2000 a kid a month. It is falling more and more into a deficit. After the SFC [Student Fee Committee] decided to not fund the center a referendum was written.”
Usually, the senate receives a bill at one meeting and then will vote on it the following, but in this instance the senate voted in the same meeting having already brought it to a vote last year and had feedback.
As the meeting wrapped up, the heads of government, ASSOU President Alexis Phillips, Chief Justice Hayden Gobel and Senate Speaker Britney Sharp emphasized the vacant, paid positions within the three branches as well as At large student positions for committees. An All-Student email will be sent out with more information on how to apply.
“We need these positions filled as soon as possible,” said Sharp.
The available senate seats include Athletics and Recreation; Campus Life and Housing; Clubs and Organization; Humanities and Culture; International; Non-Traditional, Military Affairs & Higher Education Center; and Social Sciences.